Friday, June 10, 2005

First Day at the Archives 

Monday I went to the archives. I expected to be put through a long wait, talking to some random archivist about my research. All they wanted was my "“numero de lecture" and I was in the reading room and working. I took it easy the first day, spending only two hours looking back over the catalogs (some of which have been reorganized since my last visit).

I ordered only two files. One was a collection of reports made to the Commissioner General of Alsace-Lorraine, something I had looked at before but wanted to see if I missed anything. The second file dealt with "“Monuments, Museums and Decorative Arts". I was eager to find something on the Musée Alsacien. The file came in a huge box, and it was at least eight inches thick. I was licking my chops, expecting something big. Unfortunately, it was full of stuff on decorative arts associations. Really boring. The stuff on museums was thin, maybe one quarter inch.

One interesting thing that I found was an initiative to created a Rhenish museum in Strasbourg. A man who had worked for the French occupation in Germany on matters related to trade between the Rhineland and France proposed a museum to call attention to the shared, but complex heritage of the Rhine in all six countries. I had not read about this effort before, and I assume that it failed completely. However, it had the support of the Commissioner General and some other powerful local officials. I intend to look more deeply at this issue, if I can find anything else.

Another oddity in the file: 300 pages of an anonymous manuscript on Henri IV. That'’s a nightmare: writing a whole lot and not being acknowledged for it.

I swung by to pick up K so that we could go out in the afternoon. We went to my favorite restaurant in France, the vegetarian Poêles des Carrotes. The interior had changed slightly, so inquired whether it had new owners -- it did. K ordered penne with mushrooms, I ate a gratin of spinach, broccoli and cauliflower. Still wonderful.

After lunch we wondered around the northeastern corner of Centre Ύle. This area had been less affected by modernization than other areas in the center of the city. We found a shop that sells some interesting African goods. K also bought a sketch book.

We descended to the level of the river and strolled slowly along its banks. We found a bench and sat for half an hour as we talked.

This day we drank half a liter of wine, a glass of beer each, and a bottle of cider, but never felt tipsy. I guess walking a lot does that.
I lived in Strasbourg for a year and went to University there... Poele de carrotes was my favourite restaurant too! It was owned by one of the profs at our university and her husband ran it. That gratin you described was my ABSOLUTE favourite! Can't wait to go back...
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